Safer Internet Day will be celebrated globally on Tuesday 5 February 2019. Rayden Solicitors are supporting Safer Internet Day, to raise awareness of online safety and the impact of online bullying. The timing could not be more apt, following a week of media coverage following the tragic suicide of a young girl who, according to her family, was influenced by a barrage of troubling content around suicide and self-harm via popular social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
In an open letter to Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat, the Children’s commissioner for England has called for a moment of reflection and urged the social media giants to either commit to tackling these issues, or admit to the public that they are unable to do so. The response of the companies is awaited as they carry out full reviews of their own policies.
A recent study has confirmed that 10 is the average age on which children in England are given their first phone, which coincides with them getting ready to start secondary school the following year. However, with this new found freedom, there is undoubtedly a risk of exposure to cyber bullying and inappropriate content.
On this Safer Internet Day, Rayden Solicitors would urge parents to take this opportunity to talk to your children and young adults about their online activity and what steps they are taking to stay safe on the internet.
Our top ten tips are as follows:
- Keep an open and honest dialogue about your child’s online presence. If friending them on Facebook or following them on Instagram would be met with despair, make sure they know that they can talk to you about any troubling content. Car journeys are often a fantastic space to start a conversation!
- If your child does confide in you about something which is worrying them online, try to avoid taking away their phone or tablet as they are more likely to view that as a punishment. Instead, talk about ways to manage this content, such as unfollowing, blocking or if the content is unacceptable, encourage them to report this directly to the social media platform.
- Manage their social media time and general internet usage. Let them know when they can use their phones and tablets, and for how long.
- Set up parental controls via your home broadband provider. It is also possible to set user accounts to only allow safe sites.
- Make sure they are being cautious with downloads. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for ways to entice you to download harmful malware. This could be disguised as downloading a popular gaming app. As a general rule, only download content from trusted sites.
- Limit what they share online. Photos of lunch? Sure, but make sure they are not also sharing their location inadvertently by geotagging a post. Also remind them that any image or comment posted online may stay online forever. Even if the original post is deleted, any screenshots made by the others will not be.
- Advise them to never give out their passwords, even to their closest friends.
- Encourage them to be respectful of other people’s views. Even if they do not agree with the content, there is no need to troll a post. This only invites attention and criticism from others.
- Only agree to them meeting someone from a chatroom or social media with you or another trusted adult present. Never agree to them meeting alone, even if the other person says that they have friends in common.
- Remind them that an online profile is not necessarily an accurate reflection of someone’s day to day life. More often than not, only the good times are shared and even those are highly edited. Comparing yourself to a social media influencer can lead to feelings of inadequacy.
Rayden Solicitors are proud to have hosted three successful Teen, Tween and Child Seminars where a panel of experts have shared their knowledge on internet safety, amongst a variety of other topics. If you are interested in coming along to any child seminars hosted by Rayden Solicitors in the future, or you would like to speak to one of our family law solicitors about family matters please contact us.